Manchester Blues plays a blinder for the Borders textile industry

tartan24One of Selkirk’s sporting heroes could be about to weave a brighter future for the textile sector in the Scottish Borders.

Footballing legend Bobby Johnstone’s links with Manchester City football club provided the spur for the launch of a new tartan – Manchester Blues – in July.

A delegation headed by MCFC Life President, Bernard Halford, travelled to Selkirk to wrap up the nifty new signing and seal a deal that will see his Premiership outfit kick-off the new season in style – as the first English club to have its own official tartan.

Now it’s a case of never felt m ore like wearing the blues than singing them and the local textile industry is eyeing up the possibility of a tartan fashion trend catching on with more English clubs.

Manchester City has been working with leading tartan design company A S Campbell of Selkirk to create Manchester Blues. Designed by company director Gerald Reilly, his company will manufacture and supply cashmere and lambswool scarves, ties and stadium rugs on behalf of the club.

“Tartan is timeless and when I saw the pallet of Manchester City colours sent to me by the club I knew they would work beautifully. The results are simply stunning,” said Gerald.

At an official launch event at the Locharron Visitor Centre, Bernard Halford said: “We are the first English club to have an official tartan and it’s fantastic. I’ll be sure to mention it to Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex when I see them.

“The catalyst for all of this is Bobby Johnstone who I knew well. I have signed over 2,000 players and my favourite of all was the wee man from Selkirk,” he told guests.

Bobby Johnstone, became the first player to score in consecutive FA Cup finals at Wembley. He had transferred to Manchester City from Hibernian where he was idolised as one of the legendary ‘famous five.*’

Manchester Blues unique design has been trademarked and is now lodged with the Scottish Register of Tartans and the Scottish Tartans Authority to protect its exclusivity.

With high profile names such as City manager Roberto Mancini and superstar soccer fan Rod Stewart among those looking forward to wearing the tartan Manchester Blues is expected to score big time with the fans.

The idea for the Manchester Blues tartan happened at a Burns Supper at Manchester City Football Club last year. Craig Douglas, former chairman of Selkirk Football Club presented guests with scarves made from another top A S Campbell tartan – the Guardian of Scotland tartan.

“Roberto Mancini wore one of our scarves on the night and one thing led to another and the idea for Manchester Blues tartan was born. Craig took the idea to his friend Bernard Halford who, along with Mike Summerbee, presented it to the board and it was approved. I am convinced that this product will confirm Scotland and the Scottish Borders’ world class reputation for designing and producing the finest quality cashmere and lambswool fabrics,” said Gerald.

Above: Manchester City Life president Bernard Halford with Sarah McColm (right) and Amy Douglas at the launch of the Manchester Blues tartan.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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